Boris Johnson’s Get Brexit Done manifesto seeks stronger ties with India

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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday launched the Conservative Party manifesto for the December 12 general election with a central pledge to “get Brexit done” and make the UK “Corbyn-neutral by Christmas”, as well as forge closer ties with India.

The party’s manifesto, unveiled 18 days ahead of the polling day, makes a specific reference to the post-Brexit ties with the dynamic Indian economy and engage diaspora communities to enhance UK business access to such emerging markets.

“We will also forge stronger links with the Commonwealth, which boasts some of the world’s most dynamic economies such as India, with which we already share deep historical and cultural connections,” notes the manifesto.

“We will use export finance to increase our businesses’ access to emerging markets and engage diaspora communities in the UK with this agenda,” the document states.

“Our goals for British trade are accordingly ambitious. We aim to have 80 per cent of UK trade covered by free trade agreements within the next three years, starting with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. These will be negotiated in parallel with our EU deal, it adds.

At a Telford rally in Shropshire in the West Midlands region of England, the Conservative Party leader promised not to raise the rates of VAT, income tax and National Insurance, dubbed a “triple tax lock”.

“Unlike any other party standing in this election we’re going to get Brexit done,” said Johnson.

“Let’s go for sensible moderate one nation but tax-cutting Conservative government, and take this country forward, he said to rousing applause from his party colleagues.

As he laid out how a Tory majority would make the UK “the greatest place to live, to breathe, to be, to raise kids, to start a business the greatest place on earth”, he went on to warn against a feared coalition government between the Opposition forces of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Scotland First Secretary Nicola Sturgeon.

“Do you want to wake up on Friday 13th December and find a nightmare on Downing Street, a Corbyn-Sturgeon coalition of chaos? Let’s go carbon neutral by 2050 and Corbyn neutral by Christmas,” he said.

The 59-page manifesto includes promises such as training 50,000 new nurses, at a cost of 750 million pounds a year, and creating 50 million more doctor’s appointments.

Other “guarantees” include tighter immigration controls with an Australian-style points-based system, something the party has previously laid out as a “fairer” immigration system once the European Union (EU) freedom of movement rules come to an end post-Brexit.

Focussing on the central theme, Johnson said: “Get Brexit done and we can restore confidence and certainty and business and families. “Get Brexit done and we can focus our hearts and minds on the priorities of the British people.”

Johnson’s “get Brexit done” message is aimed for the end of January 2020 deadline, by bringing back his Withdrawal Agreement Bill to Parliament before Christmas if the Tories win a majority to “turn the page from the dither, delay and division of recent years”.  His hope is to get MPs to green light the deal, something he had failed to achieve due to a lack of majority previously, resulting in the snap election next month.

“If there is a majority of Conservative MPs on December 13th, I guarantee I will get our new deal through Parliament. We will get Brexit done in January and unleash the potential of our whole country,” said Johnson.

“The manifesto has a transformative agenda of investment in infrastructure, R&D and skills training. This is essential if we are to level up the whole economy and unleash Britain’s potential,” he added. The Tory manifesto launch follows the launch by other political parties over the last few days, including Labour and Liberal Democrats.

While the Labour Party manifesto is pegged around radical change with major spending pledges, the Lib Dems propose to focus on economic growth by unleashing a Brexit dividend. PTI

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